Delhi Police names Sitaram Yechury, Jayati Ghosh in riots chargesheet; Mahua Moitra questions silence on Kapil Mishra
The three have been named based on the statements of JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, and Gulfisha Fathima of Jamia Milia Islamia
The names of CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, economist Jayati Ghosh and Delhi University professor Apoorvanand figure in a supplementary chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police in the February riots case, allegedly for "provoking and mobilising" anti-CAA protesters.
Some of those named have also been charged with — based on the statements of three students already arrested in the case — asking the protesters to go to "any extreme", spreading "discontent" in the community by calling CAA/NRC anti-Muslim, and organising demonstrations to "malign the image of Government of India".
Their names appeared in the supplementary chargesheet, a copy of which is with PTI, filed by the police on the riots in North East District between 23 and 26 February, which claimed 53 lives and left 581 injured, 97 of them with gunshot wounds.
Later, after a political slugfest broke out on the issue, Delhi Police sources sought to downplay the entire matter, saying one of accused had disclosed these names in a disclosure statement.
The Delhi Police has not filed a chargesheet "against" them, the sources told PTI, stressing that there is a difference between ''naming'''' of someone as an accused in a chargesheet and of mentioning a name due to certain allegations.
After repeated attempts for his comments, Yogendra Yadav said, "I notice that the passing reference to me does not even contain one sentence from my speech. I find it surprising that the Delhi Police has made no effort to see the recording of my speeches all of which are in public domain."
These eminent personalities have been named based on the statements of the three students — women's collective Pinjra Tod members and JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, and Gulfisha Fathima of Jamia Milia Islamia — in the Jafrabad violence, from where the riots spread to other parts of north-east Delhi.
All three are facing charges under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
In the chargesheet, which was made public just two days before the commencement of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, the Delhi Police has claimed that Kalita and Narwal admitted to not just their complicity in the riots but also named Ghosh, Apoorvanand and documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy as their mentors, who allegedly asked them to carry out the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and go to "any extreme".
Their similarly-worded disclosure statements — mentioned in the chargesheet — claimed that the two JNU students said they organised the Daryaganj protest in December and the Jafrafad chakka jam (road block) against the CAA on 22 February, 2020 at the behest of Ghosh, Apoorvanand and Roy.
Reacting to the charge sheet, Yechury hit out at the government through a series of tweets.
"The Delhi Police is under the Centre and the Home Ministry. Its illegitimate, illegal actions are a direct outcome of the politics of BJP's top leadership. They are scared of legitimate peaceful protests by mainstream political parties and are misusing state power to target the opposition," he said.
BJP's illegal intimidation won't stop people from opposing discriminatory laws like CAA. To assert that all Indians are equal irrespective of their religion, caste, colour, creed, region, gender & political affiliations is not only our Right but our Duty. We will exercise it.
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) September 12, 2020
Several others on Twitter also condemned the naming of the above-mentioned persons.
This proves the malafide nature of Delhi police inv into the Delhi riots. Nothing could be more absurd than to accuse Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Jayati Ghosh&Prof Apoorvanand for instigating riots. Their speeches are available on video.This while Kapil Mishra&Co are let off https://t.co/DizUgGhPBc
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) September 12, 2020
At this rate, BJP and Home Minister Amit Shah are going to chargesheet and arrest all Indian citizens who spoke up against Citizenship Amendment Act. Meanwhile Ministers who provoked Goli Maaro chants will be rewarded. https://t.co/oUJinWsd5D
— Gaurav Gogoi (@GauravGogoiAsm) September 12, 2020
Delhi riots chargesheet silent on Kapil Mishra but includes Yechury & Yogendra Yadav
Am now certain BJP govt will re-write history textbooks naming Nehru as chief instigator of Gujarat riots
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) September 12, 2020
Delhi Police Additional PRO Anil Mittal said, "The names are part of the disclosure statement of one of the accused in connection with organising and addressing the anti-CAA protests. The disclosure statement has been truthfully recorded as narrated by the accused person. A person is not arraigned as an accused only on the basis of disclosure statement."
"However, it is only on the existence of sufficient corroborative evidence that further legal action is taken. The matter is currently sub judice," he said.
Kalita and Narwal also told the police that Ghosh, Apoorvanand and Roy coordinated with the Islamist group Popular Front of India (PFI) and the Jamia Coordination Committee to mentor the Pinjra Tod members to carry forward their campaign against the CAA, according to the charge sheet.
The police have used Jamia student Fathima's statement to corroborate the ensuing events.
The chargesheet claims that apart from Yechury and Yogendra Yadav, Fathima’s statement mentions Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Ravan, United Against Hate activist Umar Khalid and some leaders from the Muslim community including ex-MLA Mateen Ahmed, and MLA Amannatullah Khan.
The document, quoting statements of those arrested, indicated that these people aided the conspirators.
In her statement, Fathima said that she was told to organise the protest to "malign the image of the Government of India", the police claimed.
In her statement, included in the chargesheet, she says that "big leaders and lawyers started coming in to provoke and mobilise this crowd, including (Umar) Khalid, Chandrashekhar Ravan, Yogendra Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, and lawyer Mahmood Pracha, etc".
"Pracha said that the sit-in demonstration is your democratic right and the rest of the leaders filled the feeling of discontent in the community by calling CAA/NRC anti-Muslim" she said, as per the charge sheet.
According to the chargesheet, Kalita added, "Umar Khalid had also given some tips for protesting against CAA/NRC."
With inputs from PTI
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The 17,000-page chargesheet also includes charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act. Six more of the 21 arrested will be chargesheeted in due course, the police said
This comes a day after police arrested former JNU student leader Umar Khalid under UAPA for his alleged role in the riots